Call it whatever you want, our virtual camp is helping teens through these times.
Like a lot of other businesses, this pandemic has been tough on summer camp people. Most of us spent the first two months of the pandemic worrying whether we would be allowed to open, and this last month many of us realized that it does not make much sense to try and do so.
We were trying to create all sorts of ways to keep COVID 19 out of camp but also knew that our rational thinking can only take us so far when looking for answers to questions that no one currently has the answers to.
Camps that canceled have been angry at camps planning to open, and camps planning to open can find plenty of their own reasons to be angry. COVID 19 often has us feeling scared, helpless, and confused. I think many of us are more comfortable expressing those feelings as anger, than what they really are, fear of living in this world that we can no longer make sense of.
The highway signs near my house say “Stay New York Tough.” I get the idea, but I don’t feel all that tough lately. Confused, stuck, frustrated, scared, but “tough”? not so much…
A new program
A few weeks ago we started an online camp program. I’ve heard some people put virtual camp down, saying “It’s not camp!” Well, you can call it what you want, what I’ve seen in the few weeks it’s been running is that it can be pretty great.
Teens are connecting, having fun, and feeling less isolated and alone. We are trying new things, making new friends, and sharing our gifts. We have over thirty-five teenagers registered and I hope we will get a lot more.
There are great people leading unique activities, and great teenagers showing up. Everyone is being included, respected, seen, and heard. We are having fun but also tackling some tough questions about the world we are living in. We are trying to help teens discover more wisdom, truth, and love for themselves and this new world we are all living in.
Different classes each week
This is no joke…
Creating this program is a lot of work but I think it’s worth it. I hope we will be able to use it to spend the next several months connecting, learning new skills and discovering more about each other, our world, and the ways we can make it better. OTC has always had some of the most unique summer programming and attracted teens outside the “norm.” Besides computers, our online program is no different.
Virtual camp is still pretty new to us and while it may not be camp the way we know it, I am really glad we are doing it. I recently ran an online sharing circle with my friend Francesca and I’ve been leading sharing circles with teens and adults for a long time and I think this circle felt as helpful and valuable as any other circle I’ve been a part of.
Our online camp is a safe, fun, and an interesting way to connect, support, encourage, and love one another. To me, that makes more sense than trying to hang “New York Tough”.
Regretfully we had to cancel camp for 2020 but we now have an online program where teens can jump-in at any time. It may be the perfect way for teens to test the waters and meet the OTC community in a relaxed way. See the video below. Find out more.
I’m Adam Simon. I started teen camp eighteen years ago with the vision of creating a space where teenagers would know they are safe from bullying or negative judgments and would feel free to show who they really are and to become their best selves. Let’s connect, discuss, engage…